It is virtually impossible to function without broadband, says politician header image

Published: 15th May 2014

The importance of everyone in the UK having access to reliable broadband has been stressed by a Liberal Democrat peer.

Speaking in light of Office for National Statistics figures that show 13 per cent of Britons have never been online, Lord Addington said: "It is virtually impossible to function without broadband."

He then asked how are "people are supposed to cope until this situation is corrected?" the Daily Mail reports.

Lord Addington's comments were echoed by Conservative peer Baroness Neville-Rolfe. She stated: "Broadband and mobile coverage have become essential utilities, like water or power. Without coverage it is like living in the old world without a post box or hot water."

Baroness Neville-Rolfe called on the government to "buck up and meet their obligations to citizens and businesses, all of whom now need to be able to operate online".

Earlier this year, research from revealed a good broadband connection is now regarded as the 'fourth utility' alongside gas electricity and water. Meanwhile, 54 per cent of house hunters now see it as a key consideration when choosing a property, which is ahead of other factors such as local amenities and transport links.

According to telecoms watchdog Ofcom, the average broadband speed in the UK currently stands at 17.8 Mbps, although this drops to 11.3 Mbps in rural areas.

However, the accuracy of this figure was questioned by Dominic Baliszewski of Broadband Choices, who believes the small number of high-speed fibre connections in use means Ofcom's average speed is higher than most people actually experience.

In a bid to encourage the take up of faster broadband, the European Council has recently released a list of directives to facilitate faster connections. 

These includes all new major buildings constructed or undergoing substantial renovation from 2017 onwards being made high-speed ready and increasing rights of broadband providers to access existing infrastructure for the purposes of improving connectivity.